As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We continue the series with a look at the Lions' tight ends.
Under contract: Brandon Pettigrew (2017), Eric Ebron (2017 + team option for 2018), Joseph Fauria (2015), Jordan Thompson (2016)
Free agents: Kellen Davis (UFA)
At this time a year ago, there was a lot of uncertainty at tight end with Brandon Pettigrew headed for free agency. For a while, it looked like he was going to sign elsewhere, but he ended up staying in Detroit. Then, later in the offseason, the Lions drafted Eric Ebron in the first round, giving them a pretty solid top three at the position, at least on paper.
Unfortunately for the Lions, that top three was derailed by injuries throughout the 2014 season. This led to guys like Jordan Thompson and Kellen Davis being called upon to contribute, and the Lions didn't get a whole lot out of the tight end position as a result.
As we look ahead to the 2015 season, the Lions' top three at tight end does in fact appear to be set with Pettigrew, Ebron and Fauria. The Lions also have Thompson under contract, giving them some extra depth in case injuries become an issue again. If injuries don't become an issue, the hope would be that Ebron makes a big jump in his second season in the league, Pettigrew gets more looks in the passing game after basically being relegated to a blocking-only role last season and Fauria continues to develop into a bigger receiving threat outside of the red zone.
Need going forward?
Barring injuries, this position is set. The Lions could always use more depth, but at tight end, that extra depth would likely come in the form of an undrafted free agent or two to compete with Thompson for a spot on the practice squad. When it comes to the 53-man roster, there are no question marks with Pettigrew, Ebron and Fauria all back.
Previously: Quarterback, running back, fullback, wide receiver